Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Time for me to come clean.
I love the rural life, really I do, but there are some days when the comfort of a city condo would be a welcome distraction. And honestly? A relief.
Like the days when it's sub-zero and I forgot to pick up winter work gloves to do the outside chores (for the 7th day in a row) and my fingers freeze.
Or those mornings the chickens are screaming way down the hill for the umpteenth time and I have to get up from my work again (you know, the gig that pays the bills) to make sure they're not being carried off by a coyote or a hawk.
Or the chicken house roof is leaking and now it's reeking to high heaven because the deep bedding is wet, meaning I need to spend another hour cleaning it out.
Or a tree has crashed onto the driveway, rendering us trapped.
Or the mouse has once again gnawed on my $5 a pound organic avocados, turning them to compost, then found the time (the dear heart) to chew the pants off a $75 Waldorf doll I bought as a gift for a little one in our circle of friends.
Or the cold rain is running down my neck as I'm getting the firewood for the night because the rain gutter guy hasn't shown up to install the new gutters on the shed.
Or, and here's the best one - the kindling somehow got wet (see missing gutters above) and the fire I'm trying to light to stave off hypothermia in the house simply WILL NOT LIGHT!!
All this while I'm trying to run a technology business with high profile international clients who need stuff done. You know, like 'NOW'. Via satellite internet, for which there is rarely a speed called 'fast' (at least with the service I'm currently using - the only one available here) and it disappears whenever it snows, or is foggy, or a leaf grows in the wrong place...
I can even imagine what it would be like if we had more animals...
Frustrating? Absolutely. Maddening? Sometimes. Enough to really make me reconsider my dream? Not on your life.
I have to admit, when I decided to go down this modern homesteading road, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sure I'd read a lot of books and met with a lot of experts, but honestly, it's like having children. Nothing anyone says ahead of time can prepare you for the ways in which your life is about to change. Even all that super negative stuff from your bitter 40-something friend who has children but really probably shouldn't - zilch effect. And then you sit there, shell-shocked, wondering why no one told you what it was really like.
Except they did - but you weren't listening. You had a dream, and gol' darnit, you were going to do it, regardless of what your friends and family thought.
So you packed yourself up from your city life and moved to the sticks.
Then spent the next three years battling a mouse (or a squirrel) for dominion over your digs. Sure, you could have had it 'taken care of', like some have suggested, but where's the adventure in that?
And then you wake up one morning, rain pattering on the roof of the loft, fire crackling in the woodstove, and winter wrens chirping and flitting outside the window - and you just know you are home. The satellite internet is working like lightning (for once), and the chickens have offered up breakfast in the form of the most delicious organic range eggs you've ever tasted. Almost sweet, if you can imagine such a thing.
And you are reminded that life is, indeed, good. Very good. And that most of the frustrations result from choices we have made.
So, as we play out our third year of living in our little piece of paradise, I've come to understand that even with all the interruptions and frustrations, I'm really happy. For all the quirks of rural living (and there are many), we really do have an incredible, amazing, brilliant life here.
So, when the internet connection craps out again because it's foggy or something, I'll take a deep breath, slather on some Stress Away, and settle into another day of living my dream.
If you live in the country and are already doing this homesteading thing, do you have any wisdom to share with those contemplating the move? Please share in the comments below!